Bernie Sanders isn’t the only progressive who is confused about charter schools. On the left, misunderstandings and mischaracterizations about non-traditional public schools abound, many of them spread by an educational establishment that fiercely guards its turf.
Via Brookings here’s a map of charter school access.
Are teacher pensions part of the fiscal pressure on urban school districts? Well duh. The fiscal overhang created by pension obligations is a big deal. In the debate about who is at fault everyone is sort of right. Bad/irresponsible decisions by state legislatures are a problem – so is the bad design of teacher retirement policies relative to today’s teacher labor market. Hard for the various factions to say all of that though – everyone has their preferred cause. You know who doesn’t and plays it straight? Chad Aldeman. He’s in the story.
More generally, there are more than four million teachers. Only one in 5 can expect to get a full pension because of all the various barriers. That’s the design problem here that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the back in forth. Why is anyone hell bent on perpetuating a system that only works for one in five workers? What’s more, 40 percent of teachers are not in Social Security, creating additional retirement insecurity. These are addressable problems – and the solutions are more complicated than just moving to 401ks – but it will take leadership and so far that’s mostly lacking.
A lot of guns find their way to school. More accountability for securing firearms seems like something most people could get behind? With rights there are responsibilities and all that…
New report on teacher evaluation with some design principles from the Aspen Institute. Congress gets rid of the teacher evaluation requirements in federal law and tons of reports follow! Who says government can’t positively affect the lives of ordinary wonks?
Fired Missouri media professor speaks out in WaPo. Asks a profound question: Do you really want to live in a world where media studies professors are too afraid of public scorn to trample First Amendment rights?
It is one thing to speak from a vaulted perch where you are not responsible for a single kid, and preach the paleoliberal gospel of the one-best-system; to write missives against school reform as you cash under-the-table paychecks from reform funders; to sit on panels sponsored by education labor cartels and interrogate the motives of school reformers while never interrogating the motives of labor cartels; to put your own kids in private schools and then assail school choice as a misguided gift to the ignorant poor who won’t make decisions as well as you have; and to basically fill the world with useless pablum about thinking broader, bolder, more holistically, without focusing intensely on developing, administrating, delivering, and measuring the effectiveness of instruction and learning in the most important place, the classroom.
It’s something much different to do what the leaders of new schools do, which is to design, establish, and operate schools that fight the nihilistic, racist, and classist mantra that demography affixes melanated people without money to academic failure.
Dr. Darling Hammond and Stanford University gave it the college try. They started a school. It was intended to showcase all of their research in an applied setting with real children. In 2005 Sanford’s dean for the School of Education, Deborah Stipek, said the university “wanted to be a partner [to the local school district] rather than just preach from the Ivy tower.”
The school did terribly.
Even with extensive resources, including $3,000 more in per student funding, and a direct connection to all of the conceivable knowledge produced by one of the world’s most renowned institutions of higher learning, the school struggled to break out of the bottom 5% of schools in the state of California.
When the school failed Diane Ravitch said ”Maybe this demonstrates that schools alone cannot solve the very deep problems kids bring to school…You cannot assume that schools alone can raise achievement scores without addressing the issues of poverty, of homelessness and shattered families.”
That’s absolutely the wrong message, and the fact that so many “educated” people from our community never confront her system-preserving, elitist nonsense makes them as suspect with me as my support of reform has made me with them.